Adam and I were talking the other evening about the best Christmas presents we received when we were children, to my surprise I could actually only remember a 2 my “Tiny Tears” doll and my adult size bicycle. It didn’t matter how much I thought about it, other than one item that was in my stocking nothing else came to mind at all. The longer I thought about it, the more I also realised that it was the present in my stocking that I loved the most of all the toys I remember having. Thinking about it now it wasn’t anything that special either, a clear dome of plastic covering a rising yellow spiral on which you could balance a ball baring. It was then the fun began as you balanced it all the way up the path that the spiral formed all the way to the top, where it dropped into the middle to prove you had completed the puzzle. It feels like I completed that puzzle a million time and completing it again, just meant the fun began again as I tipped the ball out and started the trail once more to the top. Something so simple but I have never forgotten it and I guess I still rank it as the best toy I was ever given. I can’t imagine a kid today being impressed or even completing it once, as there was no great reward, or flashing lights, just a ball and a path to follow. I honestly believe that the worst thing that ever happened was the day they allowed companies to advertise toys on the TV, the world has become an I want society, rather than a delighted with what I got one.
For some reason it only hit my yesterday just how close Christmas really is, I guess when you don’t put up a tree or decorate your home, creating a countdown to the big day, it does just appear. We once again haven’t done anything other than post a couple of cards, no decorations, no presents, why, simple, no money. This is our third year spending Christmas this way and although the first one felt really strange, I have actually very quickly adapted to it. I have always gone over board in years past, mainly I think because it was a low key event when I was a child and I wanted all the magic, I felt I had missed. I wanted everyone around me to feel the wonder and to spend hours looking at the beauty of lights and decorations where ever they looked. Parcels had to not just be wrapped, they had to be tied with ribbons and decorated with small tree decorations to make them seem better than they could possibly be. Everything had to scream Christmas and welcome to all. Decorating the house would take nearly a week and each present half an hour, but it was worth every second because it was Christmas. So to be sat here on the 17th without the tiniest piece of tinsel and no baubles, well it’s easy to see why Christmas has crept up on me this year. I guess it is another one of those things that illness takes away, when you don’t have the money and you don’t have the energy, it just stops happening, like so many other things.
I guess that sometimes to others it might sound as though illness is just lose after lose, things that were and can’t be again. Well in some respects it is, but as long as you can hold on to firstly your memories and secondly a love of life and the love others give you, well it really isn’t that hard. I guess I find that bit easier not being of the “I want one” generation. I have never been caught up in that illusion that life and love is measure by how big or how much something costs, designer labels and glitz are nothing but ways of spending the money most don’t have. I have always thought if someone wants me to wonder around advertising their company as their logo is embellished on everything I have, well they should be paying me to do so. Others looking into my world would not be able to see what it is that keeps me happy, as you can’t see love, you can’t measure contentment or pride, as there is no monetary equation for the things that make life truly a wonderful thing to have. Trust me wearing the latest label would probably be more of a hindrance than advantage when you are heading to the loo hoping your bladder will hold until you are there. I can’t explain it but I know without the slightest doubt that the longer I am ill and the less I am able to do to, the more I believe I have found the real purpose of my life and believe me it has nothing to do with the outside world at all. I couldn’t have ever pictured that I would be living as I do, yet still be able to say that I feel more alive than I ever have.
There is something about knowing where that final line is, that actually gives you a great freedom, it is as thought someone has given me the permission to think, feel and be who I really am. There is no longer any need to be anything else, no more faces to wear as it is no longer matters, others can think of me as they choose, I have been give that permission to do what I want, because my life is heading towards it’s end. 2 years ago I thought that being housebound had taught me so much about life and how to live it, I was only half way there, mind you I might be saying the same in 2 years time again, but right now I know without a doubt that the events of 2013 has woken me up. I just wish I had learned how to live a long time ago as I would have done many things in a very different way. Not regrets, just a case of eyes open a little too late. So here it is, Christmas 2013, no tree, no presents, no huge family meal, but I couldn’t be more content and happy about life if I tried, so here’s to the future.
We are not doing an elaborate Christmas either. We are going to buy gifts for the two grandchildren. We had a death, my son, so we are only doing what we have to. The idea of being with the family I have is all I want.
I love your sentiments and identify with a lot of them as I have never been a great fan of Christmas. I love what you say about lesson learned from illness; carry on relishing the freedom you have received and earned to do and say whatever you want. Seize the day, every day, work every last bit of joy and freedom into the life you have. More power to you! Siobhán
Such words of wisdom. When life has stripped you of all but the essentials, you can be more appreciative of what you have.
It’s funny you should say that because only the other day I was thinking that I am happier in myself since I have been unwell and thought that was the opposite of what I would have expected. I think your post explains why.
I do remember a few of the toys that I received at Christmas as a child. Some of my favourites were a spirograph set, a mosaic game,and a triang scooter. 🙂
heres to the future indeed chuck I know what you mean about christmas I used to love christmas even so far as dressing up as santa while I was at work on occasion. but this year the magic doesnt seem to have touched me as much as it usually does although I am sure it will on the big day when my daughter opens her presents. I have never been a fan of brands and in trend stuff I have also loved the simplest presents and in a weird way I think my daughter is the same she plays more with the boxes and the simple gifts than the huge expensive gifts that she gets.
Beautifully written and a joy to read!